On the beach

In addition to several evening beach visits, I spent a couple of days at the beach during the week we spent on Dauphin Island.  My sister, a true beach bum, and the children all went a time or two more than that.  Today I’m sharing pictures from our first and second beach trips because those are the pictures I have now (I hope to get my sister’s pictures, too, and maybe I’ll share some of them later).  Also, there was such a marked difference between these two days that I thought it would be fun to share them in one post.

Dauphin Island 002 We spent this first beach morning at the Lighthouse Bakery, and my parents planned to go to the beach with us after we had our late breakfast.  However, my mother began to feel a little on the puny side, so she and my dad decided to keep Benny back at our house.  My sister, Amber, and I went back-and-forth many, many times before we finally decided to just seize the moment and go all-out (with all our beach equipment, etc.) because the skies were positively ominous.  The particular public beach that we visited this day is quite a distance from the parking lot, so there was a lot to consider, especially since we had a garden wagon full of beach paraphernalia to pull/push/carry through the deep, loose sand to get down to the ocean.   It was quite the adventure!

Dauphin Island 003We watched that huge cloud (and more besides) travel the circuit of the sky, but we persevered.

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The waves were big and the water was grey.  It was one of those really awe-inspiring days at the beach, but Amber and I had one eye on the sky the whole time, so it was hard to really take it all in.  The kids enjoyed it, though, and mostly missed the fact that we adults weathered a couple of brief but blustery showers under our beach towels.  (Lulu did come up and set up our beach umbrella, so there was that. :-) )

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Our second beach day was the exact opposite:  the skies were clear blue, it was sunny, and the beach, while not crowded, was definitely more of a happening place.

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My younger nephew brought along his skim boards and enjoyed some time “skating” on the surf.

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I’m not sure there’s a more peaceful place than sitting in a beach chair watching your children play in the sand and the sea.  One of their favorite activities was walking down to the end of the beach and exploring some large tide pools.  They spent a lot of time trying to outwit the resident fiddler crabs.

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Dauphin Island 054The funniest thing happened to us on our sunny day at the beach.  Amber and I were sitting in our beach chairs, watching the kids and chatting.  She was about to stick a cheese puff in her mouth (as in it was about an inch or less from her mouth) when a seagull swooped down and snatched it out of her hand!  She never saw the bird coming!  You can be sure that we ate our snacks rather furtively after that.  ;-)

Dauphin Island 042As far as I’m concerned, the beaches of Dauphin Island are nearly perfect.  Sure, they’re a little more “natural” than some other, more populated beaches that get a nice “combing” every evening or so.  However, if you’re looking for a great Gulf of Mexico beach to visit where you won’t be tripping over other sunbathers, this is definitely one to visit.

 

Dauphin Island Estuarium

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We spent our second morning on the island at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab Estuarium.  This was sort of spur-of-the-moment because where we really wanted to go was the beach, but the skies looked pretty ominous, so we opted for the indoor activity instead.  I didn’t take many pictures because I had other things to do, like trying to keep Benny awake in the rented umbrella stroller with the wonky wheels (fail!) and trying to keep up with the DLM who only wanted to do exactly everything his hero, my fourteen year old nephew, did.  Whew.

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The DISL Estuarium really is a must-visit on the island.  See more pictures and details from our last trip here.

Dauphin Island family getaway

Dauphin Island Parkway--the bridge to the island
Dauphin Island Parkway–the bridge to the island

We spent the past week–Monday to Monday–on Dauphin Island off the coast of Alabama.  Steady Eddie had a work conference in Mobile, so we finagled our schedule and budget to accommodate a family vacation, too.  My parents, my sister, and my two nephews went along, and we had our first ever extended family vacation.  This wasn’t our first trip to Dauphin Island; we spent almost a week there with friends last November, and we had been at least twice before that.  It’s the perfect spot for a low-key, fun-in-the-sun getaway if you don’t mind very few tourist traps or conveniences.  (For example, there are no fast food restaurants on the island and very few restaurants, periods.  There isn’t even a regular grocery store!)

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We rented a house just off Mobile Bay on the central/east end of the island.  The Heron’s Nest was such a lovely place to spend the week!

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The house is aptly named.  This fellow visited the pine tree beside the house not long after we arrived:

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We couldn’t have been happier with our rental.  It was roomy enough for all eleven of us–with a bedroom to spare since my teen nephews opted to sleep in the living room.  ;-)  What made the house extra special, though, was the view from the sun room of Mobile Bay.

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Not the Bay, exactly, but a big, huge house that sits on the Bay

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The (climate controlled!) sun room was the morning gathering place.  Benny loved to look out the windows for the “big boats” with Papaw.  Mamaw sat there every morning reading Great Expectations (she’s in my IRL bookclub, too).   The girls found it to be the perfect place for lounging and reading.  The nephews and the girls (with the DLM tagging along) spent hours at the table playing Rook and Settlers of Catan.

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I’ll be sharing some of the sites we saw and fun things we did on Dauphin Island over the next few days.  Click on the Dauphin Island tag if you’re interested in reading more from past trips.

 

July 2014 Nightstand

What's On Your NightstandThis might just be my shortest Nightstand post to date.  My entire month has been consumed with reading Great Expectations (when I haven’t been reading here and there on the internet).   And guess what?  I’m still not through.  I’m within one hundred pages of the end, though, so there’s hope.  :-)

(I’ve shared quotes here, here, and here.)

Next up after Great Expectations are the following:

The first two, I Capture the Castle and Deconstructing Penguins, I’m reading for Annette’s Summer Reading Challenge.   I’m reading Teaching from Rest in preparation for our upcoming sixth (!!!) year of homeschooling.  The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm is a pre-pub ebook I’ve gotten through NetGalley to read in anticipation of its August publication date.   That’s a lot–possibly more than I can read in a very busy month.

Of course, I’ve been reading aloud, too.  Come back next Thursday, July 31, for this month’s Read Aloud Thursday.

What’s on Your Nightstand?

Books, Reading, and Home Education

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